Author Topic: Starting a Skateshop  (Read 298 times)

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switchstance nosebleed

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Starting a Skateshop
« on: February 28, 2021, 12:35:13 PM »
I want to sell hard goods from my apartment. I just moved to a new town with a rad, youthful skate scene, but no skate shop. Theres a Zumeiz at the mall and snowboard shop that just so happens to sells enjoi completes and Indys, crap like that. Who's got advice on getting in touch with distributors?
Disclaimer I have no interest in doing this for profit. I want to give the younger groms some sort of skate shop experience and also provide exposure and business for rad companies like There and Unity while also just submersing myself in the culture I love. If any shop owners or shredders alike have any advice or input on the matter would love to hear from y'all.

be well,

Will

Mbrimson88

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Re: Starting a Skateshop
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2021, 01:54:23 AM »
Not sure about USA for legal things or zoning laws, but unless you are in an area that can be deemed a commercial site, you might get shut down pretty quickly.

Other issues include the problems of insurance and having, or more importantly NOT having a shop front to sell out of.  No matter how legit you might be, it is always a bit of a weird thing to be selling out of a private residence, especially if it doesn't have ground level foot traffic frontage.

Not sure about there too, but most wholesale suppliers will not even blink at you unless you have a solid looking shop or a business plan or at least something to say you are not just one guy doing backyard sales and undercutting existing business operations in your town or area (no matter who they are or what they represent).

Hooking up homies is one thing, but trying to sell to the general public might get you more headaches than it is worth, especially if you end up at the skatepark with a car full of product and set up a "pop up shop" and local shops hear about it, because local laws prevent you running something out of your place of residence.

For what it is worth, I have been "helping" friends out for twenty or so years with product, finding things they wanted, buying sale product or things I see have discounts or bulk buys and primarily still buying from every local shop I have been in to just because local shops are the backbone of the local skate scene.  I have never gone to a skatepark and set up a shop, or tried to hustle product to unknown kids or adults alike, but many people know me and know I have things and can find things much more easily than they might be able to find them in their own searches.  The closest skate shop of any description is an hour away and even then half the time they are out of the good things people want, or others don't want to go there for whatever reason.

There are also others who are doing this that I know of too, some rad people trying to help their own scene, such as  @rocklobster in an Asian country (buying from legit shops to help others too), but I also know of some others who are just money minded dicks, one dude who thought they can save some $$ by not having a physical shop with rent and all the rest of it and load up a van and hit the road, which didn't turn out so well for him in the long run.  There are others who stock up on a whole lot of cheap "Brand X" product and wonder why no one wants their crap brands, but again those guys are here for a bit and then gone again.

Not moving product fast enough and having bills to pay, so running deep discounts, or hooking up all your mates at wholesale prices is also not the answer. That sort of thing gets you cut off from wholesale distributors very quickly.


All that aside, think about it, see if you have enough money - at least $10,000 to stock out a shop is about minimum really, $20,000+ is better - talk to sales reps for distributors or contact some via their "Hit us up" or whatever link and see what they say or what you get back.

I would be curious to know how you go with it.


I have looked very closely at what is going on but never deemed it viable financially to open a free standing shop - there are too many others and too many cheap online deals nowdays, so the only way I would consider opening an actual shop is if it was part of something else, eg an indoor skatepark, or a co op business arrangement, as I know some people have, eg wife has a flower shop and husband has a skate shop out the back of it.

Unless you do it fully and have $100,000 to throw at it (half of that is to get through the first 12 months running costs alone) often ventures like this are short lived and I have even seen very long standing and successful skate shops end up having to close because they were just not profitable to run any more.
I talk too much about skateboards.  Sorry.

Mbrimson88

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Re: Starting a Skateshop
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2021, 01:56:02 AM »
I want to find that article "I love skateboarding but running a skate shop has made me hate skateboarding more than I ever knew" or something like that.

Anyone got any leads?


This is a good article anyway:


https://www.realskateboards.com/actions-realized-united-we-stand-with-humiditys-phillip-santosuosso/

« Last Edit: March 01, 2021, 02:03:26 AM by Mbrimson88 »
I talk too much about skateboards.  Sorry.

jsettle

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Re: Starting a Skateshop
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2021, 08:53:08 AM »
Not sure if he made this an actual business or how he pulled it off, but there is this shop ran out of this guys apartment in South Florida called Small Skate Shop. He may be a good resource to reach out to for info on it.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLeeSsTlQq_/

rocklobster

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Re: Starting a Skateshop
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2021, 10:51:07 PM »
I have looked very closely at what is going on but never deemed it viable financially to open a free standing shop - there are too many others and too many cheap online deals nowdays, so the only way I would consider opening an actual shop is if it was part of something else, eg an indoor skatepark, or a co op business arrangement, as I know some people have, eg wife has a flower shop and husband has a skate shop out the back of it.

Unless you do it fully and have $100,000 to throw at it (half of that is to get through the first 12 months running costs alone) often ventures like this are short lived and I have even seen very long standing and successful skate shops end up having to close because they were just not profitable to run any more.

@Mbrimson88 spitting truth here. Forget about making big money from skateboarding because margins are thin, shops have long standing relationships with distributors, you may not have the capital to fulfil a MOQ or your get a decent price on goods. You may get some luck with a homie who own a shop and can transfer good to you, but it's going to take time to build a relationship from cold. Are there local board brands you can reach out to, maybe get some boards from there and start from there.

You can reach out to some distributors to find out the T&Cs, use that to develop a business plan, ie do your market research and develop a USP that goes beyond a retail front.

Plonking money in and buying good is just the first step, building a following and reputation is should be the harder, ongoing part that no one talks about. Why should people go to you instead of going to Zumiez or hitting up Tactics? What problem are you trying to solve for skaters in the community that isn't being addressed right now? What value are you bringing to the community beyond being a place for people to buy goods?

Also, don't forget your business fundamentals - cash is king, get credit terms if possible, don't spend $3X on stock if you're only moving $X a month, variety matters, minimize costs as much as possible, reputation / relationships trumps price in the long run.

Last thing I would say is check out the book The Lean Start Up; it really helped to frame my thinking as a small business owner. Being small has it's downsides, but it also allows you to be nimble and cater to a bespoke need in the community. Having a distributor is great when you need stock, but not when they are hounding you to commit $100k worth of stock, squeezing you for payment, have zero inventory or don't carry any of the brands that move.

Running my business has given me the most fulfilment in the past 12 months and I wouldn't trade it for the world. The hours are long, the labor is back-breaking, requests are stupid ("why don't you guys carry Thank You boards") and the money is thin. But giving back to the community has been my favorite part of 2020 and 2021 thus far.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_bj3f7ZjrQ
I watch this regularly to get inspiration.

Mbrimson88

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Re: Starting a Skateshop
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2021, 11:16:51 PM »
Terminal skate shop is still going too.


https://www.instagram.com/p/B9zAlzHlNts/
I talk too much about skateboards.  Sorry.

spacial_profiling

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Re: Starting a Skateshop
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2021, 11:43:35 AM »
I want to sell hard goods from my apartment. I just moved to a new town with a rad, youthful skate scene, but no skate shop. Theres a Zumeiz at the mall and snowboard shop that just so happens to sells enjoi completes and Indys, crap like that. Who's got advice on getting in touch with distributors?
Disclaimer I have no interest in doing this for profit. I want to give the younger groms some sort of skate shop experience and also provide exposure and business for rad companies like There and Unity while also just submersing myself in the culture I love. If any shop owners or shredders alike have any advice or input on the matter would love to hear from y'all.

be well,

Will

First of all you need to register your business and get a tax ID # to be able to purchase from distributors, then you probably need to have a physical address that is not your house for the business to be registered to. Also, scower the sale thread and sites for good deals on shit you can pick up. Things like 20% off sitewide etc. are gold. Another pro tip, daddies baordshop sometimes updates their truck stock with incorrect pricing that you may also be able to take advantage of. Small is tight, so is Cornerstore. Another person I'd reach out to who may be able to help.

Mbrimson88

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Re: Starting a Skateshop
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2021, 04:34:38 PM »
Expand Quote
I want to sell hard goods from my apartment. I just moved to a new town with a rad, youthful skate scene, but no skate shop. Theres a Zumeiz at the mall and snowboard shop that just so happens to sells enjoi completes and Indys, crap like that. Who's got advice on getting in touch with distributors?
Disclaimer I have no interest in doing this for profit. I want to give the younger groms some sort of skate shop experience and also provide exposure and business for rad companies like There and Unity while also just submersing myself in the culture I love. If any shop owners or shredders alike have any advice or input on the matter would love to hear from y'all.

be well,

Will
[close]

First of all you need to register your business and get a tax ID # to be able to purchase from distributors, then you probably need to have a physical address that is not your house for the business to be registered to. Also, scower the sale thread and sites for good deals on shit you can pick up. Things like 20% off sitewide etc. are gold. Another pro tip, daddies baordshop sometimes updates their truck stock with incorrect pricing that you may also be able to take advantage of. Small is tight, so is Cornerstore. Another person I'd reach out to who may be able to help.

Is Cornerstore a shop or a brand?

The only thing that comes up related to skateboard product is this one, which is a brand it seems, not a shop, even though they have had the "pop up shop" like the one in this post, from what I can see anyway.

Asking and curious more than anything.


https://www.instagram.com/p/Bo6lRwWlz1v/
I talk too much about skateboards.  Sorry.

spacial_profiling

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Re: Starting a Skateshop
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2021, 06:58:08 AM »
Expand Quote
Expand Quote
I want to sell hard goods from my apartment. I just moved to a new town with a rad, youthful skate scene, but no skate shop. Theres a Zumeiz at the mall and snowboard shop that just so happens to sells enjoi completes and Indys, crap like that. Who's got advice on getting in touch with distributors?
Disclaimer I have no interest in doing this for profit. I want to give the younger groms some sort of skate shop experience and also provide exposure and business for rad companies like There and Unity while also just submersing myself in the culture I love. If any shop owners or shredders alike have any advice or input on the matter would love to hear from y'all.

be well,

Will
[close]

First of all you need to register your business and get a tax ID # to be able to purchase from distributors, then you probably need to have a physical address that is not your house for the business to be registered to. Also, scower the sale thread and sites for good deals on shit you can pick up. Things like 20% off sitewide etc. are gold. Another pro tip, daddies baordshop sometimes updates their truck stock with incorrect pricing that you may also be able to take advantage of. Small is tight, so is Cornerstore. Another person I'd reach out to who may be able to help.
[close]

Is Cornerstore a shop or a brand?

The only thing that comes up related to skateboard product is this one, which is a brand it seems, not a shop, even though they have had the "pop up shop" like the one in this post, from what I can see anyway.

Asking and curious more than anything.


https://www.instagram.com/p/Bo6lRwWlz1v/

@thecornerstoreskateshop

https://thecornerstoreskateshop.bigcartel.com/

Mbrimson88

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Re: Starting a Skateshop
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2021, 04:46:00 PM »

@thecornerstoreskateshop

https://thecornerstoreskateshop.bigcartel.com/


Yes so they started as a brand, not a shop, but have now branched out in to selling other product.

Brand = all their own brand of skate merchandise

Shop = multiple brands of skate merchandise


Small skate shop and Terminal NYC look like they started as shops, as they are not selling just their own brands, but a wide variety of brands from their location.  As per a lot of shops, having their own brand or shop logo product is all part of doing a shop.

Not trying to be a dick, just trying to explain the differences (but I know little to nothing of their history).


It is interesting to see how some people who start their own brand evolve into a shop, whereas others stay just to their own brand in whatever they do, but some others would never have their own brand at all and just do a shop.

I know quite a few people who have done this over the years, some moderately successful, most not so successful, but if that is what you want to do, you have to give it a shot.

I talk too much about skateboards.  Sorry.

rocklobster

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Re: Starting a Skateshop
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2021, 11:28:45 PM »
Expand Quote

@thecornerstoreskateshop

https://thecornerstoreskateshop.bigcartel.com/
[close]
I know quite a few people who have done this over the years, some moderately successful, most not so successful, but if that is what you want to do, you have to give it a shot.

Twist has been selling hard and softgoods under his own brand (Losers ATL) and his graphics are sick, all hand screened.

Ultimately running a skate shop is like running any other business in that it comes down to business fundamentals:
- cashflow is king
- don't be reliant on 1 distributor
- have a mix of high-margin low-value products (hardware, griptape, hardware) and low-margin high-value products (decks, trucks, wheels) to balance the portfolio
- focus on a few key brands instead of stocking too many brand, 1 kid may want Thank You boards, but that doesn't mean you should stock a warehouse full of them
- spend time building a following and brand instead of just pushing products, little is stopping people from going to tactics or skate warehouse, so you have to fill a gap in the market. Having a following also means repeat customers and referrals which is ways more cost-effective and profitable than acquiring new ones (Don't Spend 5 Times More Attracting New Customers, Nurture The Existing Ones - https://www.forbes.com/sites/jiawertz/2018/09/12/dont-spend-5-times-more-attracting-new-customers-nurture-the-existing-ones/?sh=7e4e16075a8e)
- seriously ask yourself what problem does your shop solve for skaters, your answer has to go beyond selling shit to skaters, your value could be providing gear for skaters after most shops close
- lean out operations as much as possible, in this day and age a retail front brings very little value unless you're F&B
- be prepared to answer the same question multiple times a day ("what deck, shoes, trucks, wheels should I get") and dealing with shitty customers will be a pain ("can I get a discount?", "what complete can I get for $70?"), but it's part of retail

spacial_profiling

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Re: Starting a Skateshop
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2021, 08:30:11 AM »
Expand Quote

@thecornerstoreskateshop

https://thecornerstoreskateshop.bigcartel.com/
[close]


Yes so they started as a brand, not a shop, but have now branched out in to selling other product.

Brand = all their own brand of skate merchandise

Shop = multiple brands of skate merchandise


Small skate shop and Terminal NYC look like they started as shops, as they are not selling just their own brands, but a wide variety of brands from their location.  As per a lot of shops, having their own brand or shop logo product is all part of doing a shop.

Not trying to be a dick, just trying to explain the differences (but I know little to nothing of their history).


It is interesting to see how some people who start their own brand evolve into a shop, whereas others stay just to their own brand in whatever they do, but some others would never have their own brand at all and just do a shop.

I know quite a few people who have done this over the years, some moderately successful, most not so successful, but if that is what you want to do, you have to give it a shot.

That brand is different from the shop. That "brand" is in Boston, the shop (run by someone else completely uninvolved with those hats) is in Tennessee.

Mbrimson88

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Re: Starting a Skateshop
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2021, 06:27:19 PM »

That brand is different from the shop. That "brand" is in Boston, the shop (run by someone else completely uninvolved with those hats) is in Tennessee.

Now I see it, from the instagram post @thecornerstoreskateshop and realise I was looking at something else.

Thanks for the correction.  Not sure what I was doing, but sometimes being up too late and thinking too many things has it's toll on me.

This is a good read in the comments though...


https://www.instagram.com/p/BraT_3rl9X0/
I talk too much about skateboards.  Sorry.